Ambassador for the Republic of Cuba in Sri Lanka Florentino Batista Gonzalez (left) and the Deputy Speaker, Thilanga Sumathipala at the launch of the Sri Lanka-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Association.
Appearing on behalf of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who was out of the island, Deputy Speaker, Thilanga Sumathipala, presiding at the launch of the Sri Lanka-Cuba Friendship Association, said relations between the two countries date back to the 1959 as Cuba was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka consequent to the country gaining independence.
As such, the two countries have had a long-standing partnership spanning 57 years. In addition, Cuba is the only Caribbean country to have a diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka while Sri Lanka has two such missions, one of which is in Havana. “The honoured leader of Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, had visited Sri Lanka, and the fact that both countries are members of the G-77 and the Non-Aligned Movement, have served to further strengthen the relationship and ties between the two nations over the years,” he said.
Continuing, Deputy Speaker Sumathipala said: “Cuba also imports Sri Lankan tea and Sri Lankan students are beneficiaries of university education in that country. The support extended by the Cuban Government to our government in many an international forum during difficult times is deeply appreciated.”
Responding to the sentiments expressed, the Cuban Ambassador to Sri Lanka Florentino Batista Gonzalez, said, “This is an important occasion and I am privileged to be here, especially when the two countries have had a long standing relationship spanning 57 years, through several governments that have been in power. While such a relationship has been thriving, we are now witnessing a new chapter in our relationship, and I am looking forward to working with you, through the Sri Lanka-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Association to further moot the ties between the two countries.”